Some people in the pan-blue camp have recently found a new subject to pick on, namely that the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) promotes “desinicization” of the education system, with the result that young people no longer know who Sun Yat-sen (孫逸仙) is.
As a school teacher, I can assure the public that this is a baseless accusation.
The most recent versions of textbooks still include Sun, as well as Yue Fei (岳飛) — a Southern Song Dynasty general immortalized for his loyalty to the emperor and country — although some, obviously left-leaning, textbooks present an odd interpretation of Yue Fei’s role.
One true thing in their complaints is that the class hours for social studies have been reduced, but this is a problem related to increased teaching pressure, and has nothing to do with desinicization.
However, the rhetoric used by many people responding to the accusations are also hackneyed cliches, such as that the history of China is the history of a foreign country that has nothing to do with Taiwan.
A new academic viewpoint is to view history as “global history” rather than “national history,” which countries have adopted to serve certain purposes.
Take for example, Charles Le Gendre, who is portrayed in the TV miniseries Seqalu: Formosa 1867 (斯卡羅). He was a French-born US officer and diplomat who served as adviser to the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 1872 to 1875 and as adviser to Korean Emperor Gojong from 1890 to 1899.
The question is whether he is a part of the history of Taiwan, China, Japan or the US? In all cases, the answer is both yes and no.
History is intertwined and interconnected throughout the world. Moreover, history can in many cases transcend time and space, and touch people’s hearts.
For Christians like me, Jesus is certainly the most important historical figure.
When responding to accusations from pan-blue camp figures, it is important to recognize that all knowledge has value, but we should not demand that everyone understand it.
We are humans — and therefore, human medicine is important, and ergonomics is also important.
Why do people sneeze? Why can people not lift themselves off the floor? If young people cannot answer those questions, will we accuse the government of “fighting science”?
If a piece of knowledge makes a person feel something, then it is useful; if it does not, it is useless.
Sun Yat-sen is included in school textbooks, but if children do not remember him, it just means that his story did not move them.
People can of course tell children about Sun as many times as they like, but they should not forget that education does not only take place in school.
Chang Jim-way is a junior-high school teacher.
Translated by Lin Lee-kai
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